What is the Meaning of Proverbs 3.9-10

“Honoring the Lord from our Wealth”

Proverbs 3:9-10

INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Proverbs 3.9-10

Proverbs 3. Let me begin with a disclaimer. The topic this morning concerns our honoring the Lord with our wealth and earnings.

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Proverbs 3:9-10 9 Honor the Lord from your wealth And from the first of all your produce; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty And your vats will overflow with new wine.

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Now, so you know, I don’t pick passages to speak on that concern money. I trust that the Lord is leading us to the right passages. One of the last passages in Mark that we discussed together was the widow’s mite. Earlier in the gospel of Mark, we dealt with money as it relates to receiving Christ and how wealth can be a great hindrance to a person coming to know Christ. That was the passage about the rich young ruler.

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And now, this morning once again, money is addressed. Earlier in the ministry here, I preached a message from Philippians 4 about the miscommunication about money in ministry. That passage was given to me to preach at Meadowlands Baptist Church.

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Proverbs 3, of course, was chosen in light of Father’s Day and we have continued to work through this passage of Scripture. And by God’s providence, we have come to a couple of verses that again deal with honoring of the Lord with our money.

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Let me say as well, that my wife and I personally feel well taken care of. So there is a real sense in which as it concerns the actual dollar amount of giving to Northlight Baptist Church, I feel like I would be preaching to the choir this morning. The actual dollar amount given to this church is not a concern to me, at all. I just wanted to make sure we’re clear on that. So, in fact, ‘thank you’ for your support to this church and helping meet our needs. May the Lord richly bless you!

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I also would like to say that I don’t know what any one person gives. I receive a monthly report about what our weekly giving, but I do not know what any one person contributes to that weekly amount. I do not have signing authority for the cheques with Northlight Baptist Church on them. And this is all by design to ensure we are all above board.

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Many of us came from a church in Edmonton that, I would say, is known for its giving. It seems that every evangelist that came through that church was overwhelmed by how much we gave as a whole. I remember one evangelistic team saying that Meadowlands doubled the record for the amount the team had ever received.

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But to say that most pastors can’t say this, would be an understatement. Those claiming to be born-again Christians are becoming more and more like the world in every area of their lives, not just in honoring the Lord with their wealth.

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In 2005, Ron Sider wrote a book entitled The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience. Sider is one of the burrs in the ethical saddle of evangelical Christianity at large. And by evangelical, I mean those who would claim to be born-again Christians.

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He quotes from Gallup and Barna. These are two polling and surveying organizations that have their fingers on America’s religious pulse. They are a standard go to source for evaluating Christianity in America.

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He writes, [quote]

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“Gallup and [George] Barna’s polls demonstrate that evangelical Christians are as likely to embrace lifestyles every bit as hedonistic [pleasure-seeking], materialistic, self-centered, and sexually immoral as the world in general. Divorce is [actually] more common among [those claiming to be] born-again Christians than in the general American population. Only six percent of evangelicals tithe. … Sexual promiscuity of evangelical youth is only a little less outrageous than that of their non-evangelical peers. [He quotes] Alan Wolfe [who] concludes, “The truth is, there is increasingly little difference between … the … entertainment industry, and the bring-‘em-in-at-any-cost efforts of evangelical megachurches.” George Barna himself concludes, “Every day, the church is becoming more like the world it allegedly seeks to change.”

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Generally speaking, evangelicals at large are not honoring the Lord…at all let alone with their wealth. The ability to do so at all requires salvation and to honor Him from our wealth is no different. “Honor the Lord from your wealth.”

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  1. Command: Honor the Lord with Wealth and Earnings
    1. Honor the Lord from your wealth (Prov. 3:9)

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Well, first, what does it mean to “honor the Lord?”

EXP: To honor the Lord, means to give him the reverence and praise he desires. There is a noun that is related to this word ‘honor.’ The noun ‘honor’ also can mean, fittingly enough, “wealth.” It can also mean “glory,” or refer to having a high social status.

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For us to honor the Lord is to esteem Him as the king for who He is. He has the highest station. Typically, we think of praising the Lord with our lips as the epitome of our honoring Him. However, biblically it would be more honoring him with our lives. Our lives must esteem him.

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ARG: Honoring the Lord with our lives is the requirement of the 3rd commandment. The third commandment is Exodus 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

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What folks typically don’t know about that commandment is that this is not primarily talking about our lips. What we do with our lips concerning the Lord’s name is an application of the explanation of the passage. When the Lord demands that we not take His name in vain…that word ‘take’ is rightly understood as carrying… carrying His name. You shall not carry His name with you in vain, in an empty way. If you claim Christ’s name on your life, and you’re saying you are His, you are carrying His name. You’ve took his name. Don’t take it in vain!

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So, you can either carry His name in an honoring way or a dishonoring way; either in vain or with all the glory He deserves. When we fail to honor him with our lives, we violate this commandment. Do not claim to carry His name and bring dishonor to His name. We dishonor Him when our lives do not match up with what the Bible says and we refuse to get things right with God.

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So the entirety of our lives ought to be honoring to the Lord. Could you imagine walking about claiming the name of Yahweh and the whole time you are living a life that dishonors Him?

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Isaiah 29:13 gives us a proper perspective on how our lives are to honor him. We saw this verse in the book of Mark when the Lord quoted it to condemn the religious leaders of his day .

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Isaiah 29:13 Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,

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So notice, then, yes our words out of our mouths should honor the Lord, but we should be honoring him from the heart…. We should reverence him from the heart.

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And we can honor the Lord, of course also, from our wealth. With our words, with our hearts, and with our wealth. What I want us to see is that there is a direct tie between honoring the Lord from the heart and honoring him from our wealth.

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Tie between honoring the Lord with the Heart and with our Money

This is a key principle this morning. There is a direct link between honoring the Lord from the heart and honoring him from our wealth. Let’s turn over to Matthew 6. I would like to show us this. Matthew 6. We will look at verse 19. Jesus is giving His Sermon on the Mount. And He commands us concerning our money. Verse 19…

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Matthew 6:19-21 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

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There is a direct link between what you consider your treasure to be and where that is … there is a direct link between that and your heart toward God. Here it is: If you are storing up treasures in heaven, your heart will be in heaven. If you are storing up treasures on earth, your heart will be on the earth.

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But Verse 19 again… Don’t do that, don’t store up treasures on earth….but, v. 20, store up treasures in heaven. Why? Why should you store up treasures in heaven? You should do that, because, v.21, wherever you think your treasure is, that’s where you heart is really going to be.

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So, if you want a heavenly minded heart, guess what? One thing you ought to purpose is to store up treasures there! If you want a heavenly minded heart, store up treasures there! Are you consciously storing up treasures in heaven? Do you do certain things and live a certain way and say certain things and interact with your possessions in a certain way because what you really want to do is store up treasures in heaven, not earth? If you are not conscious about storing up heavenly treasures, your default is earthly treasures and you’ll be sickened by your own worldly-focused heart. Store up treasures in heaven if you want a heavenly minded heart!

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That’s why it is has been often said that you know the Lord has your heart when He has your wallet.

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So we must be honoring the Lord from our wealth. This is honoring the Lord from the wealth that we possess. Wealth, of course, speaks of the valuable things that we have. What we have should honor the Lord.

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ILL: {hand over}“Honor to the Lord” should be the sign over the top of everything that we own. Our heart’s focus should be that everything from the clothes that we wear to the car that we drive to the house that we live, to the money in the bank or in our wallets, or the lack thereof…everything should have as its goal to honor the Lord.

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What does it mean for me to honor the Lord with the things that I possess? How can I honor the Lord with my car? How can I best honor him with the house that I live in? What can I do with my clothes to be bring Him glory? How can I draw attention to his magnificent praises through the money that I have in the bank though little that it might be?

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How thrifty are you? Do you spend too much money? Has your credit card debt piled up? Do your spending habits look exactly like the world’s spending habits? Honor the Lord from your wealth. If someone were to look at your bank statement, would they look at it and say, “You must be a slave Jesus Christ” or would they just think, “you must go to church.”

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When there is a genuine need that somebody has, do you meet that need? Paul says that in Galatians 2:10, that he was eager to remember the poor believers that they knew of.

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Although these folks were willing to work, the labor of their hands did not provide for their necessities. For these folks, Paul definitely wanted to assist. But we need to make sure that we are being wise stewards of the money that the Lord has given us. Because 2 Thessalonians 3:10 teaches that we should not be supporting folks who are not willing to work.

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2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.

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So if anyone is not willing to work, then he must not be eating either. And even though that is the case, Paul desires to remember the poor who are willing to work.

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So, you need to be wise stewards of what you possess, asking him how to honor him with what you have. Ask him to help you to honor him with what you have.

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ILL: As we pointed out, the typical evangelical… Or someone who claims to be a born again Christian, has the exact same money practices as the world.

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The statistics demonstrate that the more we make, the less we give in proportion to our income. Giving in comparison to our income is not the NT standard of our giving, necessarily. But setting up 10% of our paychecks is a gauge to measure giving by, and that’s what these statistics decided to use as the standard.

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From 1968 to 1985, the percentage of giving among evangelicals decreased. Also, from 1985 to 2001, giving percentages decreased. But as we all know, people’s incomes were going up over those years.

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To draw a comparison now between evangelical churches and other types of churches, in 2001, members in the mainline denominations, most of which deny the fundamentals of salvation, gave 3.17% of their income while evangelicals gave just 1% more, 4.27%.

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When Sider wrote his book in 2005, on average evangelicals gave about 40% of a tithe.

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Just to give you an idea of the kind of money that we are talking about, let’s talk about the social impact of this. Just think if every evangelical Christian tithed. Again, using 10% as a starting point, some surprising statistics come to light. American Christians in 2005 had an average salary of roughly $42,000 per year. There are 3.5 million people in the US that live in extreme poverty, which means folks trying to live on $2 per day or less. Granted, many of these would not be willing to work. But so you know the amount of money were talking about…

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If American Christians merely gave 10% in a given year, that would provide $143 billion. That would be 4 times as much needed to get the 3.5 million people out of extreme poverty and to the poverty line where they need no government assistance.

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Those figures are just to get you to understand the nature of what we’re dealing with. I am not suggesting that we give 10% of our income to feed the poor, especially when they are not willing to work. I am merely reporting statistics.

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Those figures give astounding revelation concerning what, at least, American Christians, are doing with their money. Look, some of these people are willing to work, but can’t for whatever reason. Christians in general, though, I think is clear are not loving their neighbors as themselves nor are we giving money to spread the gospel of Christ. Evangelical money is, for the most part, all wrapped up in the spending habits of the world. Americans, lost and saved, spend 5 times as much on their pets then on doing and completing the Great Commission.

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We live in sad, sad times. So, let us honor the Lord with our wealth, with the money that we do have.

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But not only should we honor the Lord with our wealth, with what we have, we should honor the Lord first from our earnings.

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  1. Honor the Lord first from your earnings

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The second line of verse 9 now….

Proverbs 3:9 Honor the Lord from your wealth And from the first of all your produce;

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For the Old Covenant believer, to honor the Lord from the first of all of your produce would mean that you would bring the choicest from your fields to the Lord’s House.

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Exodus 23:19 “You shall bring the choice first fruits of your soil into the house of the Lord your God.

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Farmers would take the best of their produce and would eat it in celebration before the Lord during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

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In other words, the application for today is that God deserves your best, not your leftovers. You ought not dedicate to the Lord what you have left over, but honor him first with what you have.

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And of course, this all has to do with New Testament principles of giving. The New Testament nowhere indicates that a believer is required to give 10% of what he earns. However, there are various principles in the New Testament to help us know how to give.

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[Half sheet of kostenberger] Not just meeting the needs here, although that’s not necessarily excluded. This concerns giving in general.]

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[Go over half sheet of kostenberger] Point out Motivation #3. Turn to 2 Co. 9:6-7.

No farmer in the ancient world would consider sowing seed as a loss of seed. Why? Because the harvest will provide the seed for the next season.

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No sower is skimpy on the seed he casts upon the ground or tries to sow as little as possible. No, he willingly and generously sows all the seed he can and he trusts that God will bless the sowing with a fruitful harvest.

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If the farmer does get skimpy, everyone knows he actually cheats himself from a bountiful harvest. So, the more the farmer sows, the greater the harvest he will reap and…and here’s the key…the more he sows, the greater the harvest, and the more seed he will have for sowing for the next harvest.

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Now, applying this analogy to giving means that plentiful giving will result in a plentiful harvest. Now, it’s not seed to keep to consume upon your own lusts! As if the farmer would hoard all the seed and not sow it! In other words, this is not giving more in order to buy a fancier car or something. No, just like seed, when we give when there is a need, and we meet that need, God’s going to bring a harvest your way. That harvest again is supposed to be used to meet other needs. And the harvest cycle continues. Sow, reap crops and more seed, and sow again.

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That’s another major principle for today: Give with an eye toward receiving back from God, that you might give yet again.

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So, yes give with an eye toward receiving more back from God. But when God does give, that’s a harvest, a significant portion of which is to be used to meet others’ needs.

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John Wesley said, “Gain all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” Let that cycle continue.

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So, work hard and honor the Lord with your wealth. Give, meet needs, and receive from Him. And don’t forget it all comes from him. And meet more needs.

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TRANS: So, be encouraged to give, knowing that the Lord will take care of you.

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  1. Encouragement: Continued Material Prosperity

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And this is the exact same encouragement from

Proverbs 3:9-10 9 Honor the Lord from your wealth And from the first of all your produce; 10 So [here’s the promise…] your barns will be filled with plenty And your vats will overflow with new wine.

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If you honor the Lord with your wealth and earnings, you will not lack. And of course, this is a general principle, not a guarantee.

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And as we have discussed in weeks past, there are false teachers who wrongly interpret this verse. Giving for the purpose of receiving greater and greater wealth to satisfy personal materialistic desires is not honoring to the Lord, as Proverbs 3:9 demands. That of course is not what we’re talking about.

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The main point or the principle here is that honoring the Lord with your wealth like this, contrary to expectation, actually does result in increased prosperity. In other words, it is not like the world. In the world, if you give away your money, you will have less money. But in God’s kingdom, if you honor the Lord with your wealth and give to him from the first of what you have, you will actually receive back from the Lord. That doesn’t seem to make any sense. I give away more money and I get more back? But generally, this is how it works in God’s economy.

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But again, it’s not like God can be invested in. If you give for the express purpose of receiving, you really do not believe Jesus that it is more blessed to give than to receive. God does not honor those who have set their heart on earthly treasure. It is those who honor the Lord, whom the Lord honors.

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God does not honor the heart seeking and serving wealth, even though it is disguised with the spiritual mask of giving to God. God knows right well the heart you have and whether or not you are seeking to serve him or seeking to serve money when you give. “You cannot serve God and wealth” as Jesus has said. Giving to receive for your own lusts is actually serving wealth and God will not honor it. Giving to receive so that you might give again, that’s honoring to the Lord and he’ll honor that heart’s focus.

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I’ve actually asked the Lord to give me more money so that I can give more to help fund His work.

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Honor the Lord, not yourself. You must have a self-renouncing spirit, as David prayed…

1 Chronicles 29:16 “O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have given… is from Your hand, and all is Yours.”

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ILL: A week or so ago, my wife and I took our kids to the parade in Athabasca. We saw many of you there. Our family was standing on the side of the road. Our kids and never been to the parade before. It was very exciting time, to say the least.

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In the midst of all the emotion, there was also candy…lots of candy. We told our children, that if they wave more, they will receive more candy from the floats that were passing by. Of course, it works that way, doesn’t it? The more you wave, the more attention you draw. The more attention you draw, the more likely you would be to receive more candy.

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Well, that idea really took off in Hudson. You could really see his hands higher and waving stronger and you could see in his eyes, a real covetousness to get more candy!

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He wasn’t waving to be a blessing to others. No way, he was waving to get more! That of course, is not the Lord’s desire for us as we have an eye toward receiving when we give.

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So, a principle then is to give, with an eye toward receiving from Him, so that you can give yet again. And another principle here is that when we give, we are trusting the Lord, aren’t we? He said that if we give, our vats (our storehouses) would overflow and that He’d take care of us. The Lord promises to provide for us, if we honor him with our wealth in the way he desires.

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This is what Philippians 4:19 is all about.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

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This verse was not written to just anybody; it was written to those who give to the Lord’s work. It written to the generous Philippians. The Philippians had given a substantial gift to Paul. In fact, Paul could devote himself full time to the ministry because of their gift. And the letter Paul wrote to the Philippians is a thank you letter for what they provided. And because Paul understands this principle, of giving and receiving, Paul can tell generous believers who give to God’s work that God will supply all of their needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

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God will generously provide for those who give generously to the Lord’s work. And this takes faith. Do you really believe that if you give generously, the Lord will take care of you? It doesn’t make logical sense. I give my money away and God gives me more? So if you give sacrificially, trust the Lord that he will provide your needs.

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So work hard, gain all you can, in order to give all you can. But remember in all of your hard work, but it is God who is giving you the increase. It is God who gives the increase.

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Moses was very aware of this principle, that it was God who gives the increase. Moses exhorted God’s people to remember who it is who provided for them. They were going into a land flowing with milk and honey, and to the Promised Land. They were on the edge of entering the Land and they had the confidence that the Lord was going to provide for them.

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And Moses exhorts the people of Israel saying to them Deuteronomy 8:17-18 17 “…, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ 18 “But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

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It is the Lord who gives you the power to make wealth.

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ILL: I remember coming upon this verse while serving in my father-in-law’s church. My wife and I were pregnant with Haddie, and we were without any source of income helping my father-in-law in his small church in Prince Edward Island. I remember pleading with the Lord to provide for us.

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I remember pleading with him on 3 John 1:5-7 where John writes, 5 Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers; 6 and they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7 For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles.

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Since in John’s time, they did not accept anything from those from whom they served, God’s people were exhorted to provide the needs of missionaries. And here me and my pregnant wife are and we were demanding nothing for our services, and I was scared to death thinking how badly we needed a income.

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So I pleaded with the Lord saying, “Lord, we have gone out for the sake of your name and there is nothing here from which we can earn our living, you alone must provide for us! Please give me the power to make wealth.”

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And the Lord has abundantly provided in ways that we would not have imagined! We see how the Lord has provided in such a way so that we could move to Canada. We continue demanding nothing from those we serve.

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CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of Proverbs 3.9-10

Again, I thank you for how you, though we have not demanded, you have chosen to give to support our needs. Thank you! Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

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Trust in him to provide your needs as you give cheerfully, generously, and faithfully to support His causes.

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  • There is a tie between honoring the Lord with the Heart and with our Money. (Matthew 6:19-21)
  • God deserves your best, not your leftovers (Prov. 3:9b).
  • Contrary to expectation, honoring the Lord with your wealth actually does result in increased prosperity (Prov. 3:10).
  • So, give with an eye toward receiving back from God, that you might give yet again (2 Co. 9).

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